Facing homicide charge in Luzerne County, Freeland man sentenced to 22 years in federal prison

By Ed Lewis [email protected]





SCRANTON — A Freeland man charged earlier this week for his alleged role in killing a man in 2015 was sentenced by a federal judge Tuesday to more than 22 years in prison on drug and firearm offenses.

A federal jury after a 13 day trial in October 2018 convicted Roberto Torner, 47, of conspiring to distribute heroin in June 2015 and illegally possessing firearms from May 2012 to August 2017.

Torner, a convicted felon, was prohibited from owning or possessing firearms.

While Torner was released on pretrial supervision prior to the trial, federal prosecutors alleged he planted stolen military grade C-4 plastic explosives in one of his rental properties that was inhabited by co-defendant David Alzugaray, 50.

Alzugaray and a third defendant, Torner’s former girlfriend, Liza Robles, 34, were also convicted by the federal jury on heroin trafficking offenses. Robles was also convicted to giving firearms and ammunition to Torner, according to federal prosecutors.

In a news release from U.S. Attorney David J. Freed, Torner was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Malachy E. Mannion to 270 months in federal prison.

Alzugaray was previously sentenced to 27 months in prison, and Robles was sentenced to three years in prison.

Mannion ordered the forfeiture of six firearms and ammunition seized during the investigation.

On Monday, Luzerne County District Attorney Stefanie Salavantis announced Torner and Alzugaray were charged with criminal homicide and conspiracy to commit criminal homicide in the 2015 fatal shooting of Jose Herran.

Alzugaray was also charged with dismembering Herran’s body.

State police allege Herran was driven to property Torner owns on North Buck Mountain Road in Foster Township and taken to a house trailer where he was shot in the head by Alzugaray.

During the investigation, investigators found evidence hidden under insulation in the attic of a building on Washington Street, and three handguns from a hallowed-out banister from a building on Main Street, both in Freeland.

Investigators say Torner owns the two buildings in Freeland and the property in Foster Township where Herran was killed.